Groovy Green Beans
Throw them into any stir fry, sauté them with onions, garlic and tomatoes, team them up with snow peas and herbs and you have a delicious main or side with green beans. I sometimes gently fry them as a low cal and tasty alternative to chips. They are delicious cold in a salad teamed with pine nuts, olive oil and peas…very versatile.
You may see them referred to as green beans, snap beans or just snaps and French beans. There are many heirloom varieties available now from the prolific Climbing Bean Lazy Housewife to tidy Bush Beans like Jade and Rocdor ; some are green others are purple or yellow. All are high in dietary fibre, Vit A and C and, of course, delicious.
Planting and growing them is fairly easy. After the last frost of the season, if you get frosts in your area, you can sow the large seeds directly into the garden where you want them to grow.
First ensure that the soil is friable and crumbly and doesn’t have rocks or chunks of clay and that you have added compost to help with moisture retention.
If the plant is a climbing variety like Lazy Housewife, then place your trellis or climbing structure first where it will be stable and sturdy. For bush beans allow enough space between the plants for them to bush out or spread a bit. Next, push the seeds gently into the earth about 2 cm deep and about 15- 20 cm apart from each other, and the rows about 60cm from each other, then cover with 2-4cm thickness of sugar cane mulch or straw and water in well.
You will need to plant 10-15 bean seeds for each person in the household. Beans can be picked every day or two once beans are about a pencil thick and will snap after picking.
Within 7-10 days the seedlings will push through. I put coffee grounds around the new plants like a fence against snails. I have also seen cut off clear plastic drink bottles placed over them like mini greenhouses to protect the seedlings. Careful though if it is very hot as this may ‘cook’ them!
Climbing Beans take 50-60 days to harvest. Bush beans take a bit less at 50-55 days to mature. This is a very yummy and satisfying crop to sow and harvest. Children love to help pick the beans and ‘string’ them if necessary. You can always freeze your extra beans as well.
Add them to your patch